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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2013, 09:50 PM
Centrisian Centrisian is offline
:)
Location: Albany, GA
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1994 525i
The Five Thousand Mile Month

It's been a while, but as promised, here's the story of my 5,000 mile month.

It was New Year's Eve, the ball was dropping fast, as were my eyelids. Alas, my phone rang, a friendly voice on the other end was filled with desperation. "I'm stuck in Atlanta, I need help!" I offered my aid, topped off my fluids and got in the car. Leaving from Albany, GA I drove until I was just past Macon on I-75, when my temperature needle suddenly shot to the right. I pulled over, a quarter mile from exit 216. It's now 3 am, freezing and I'm staring at a gout of steam billowing from my hood. I waited on the steam to die down, opened the hood and saw a thumb sized void in my upper radiator hose. Knowing the dangers of overheating an engine, I debated the idea of carrying on with a patch or napping until a shop would open--on New Year's Day. I grabbed my trusty roll of duct tape, wrapped the majority around the hose, refilled the radiator with the gallon of antifreeze I had placed in the trunk the day before.
I limped down the shoulder and parked at a parts store a mile off of the interstate. I turned the car off again, locked my doors and waited sleepily until the sun rose. At 8:45 an employee showed up and I talked to him briefly. He found the hose I needed, but realized his store was out of stock. The nearest store, including other companies' stores, was in Jonesboro, 30 miles away. Fearing what could be the last 30 miles I ever drove, he helped me improvise a better patch that would hold longer than my duct tape barricade. I thanked him, radiator topped off and ready for action. The 30 miles felt like an endless march. The store was in my sights with no sign of temperature variance. I pulled into the parking lot, ran inside with my claim ticket and bought a hose, clamps and yet another container of 50/50. I called around and found a mechanic that was opened. He charged me $20 and allowed me to watch as he did the work. He flushed out air bubbles and got me running.
I made it to midtown Atlanta--12 hours after my trip began. I picked up my friend, who had been sitting outside all night, wrapped in a robe and crying. She rushed to hug me, glad to see a familiar face in such a strange land. We got back on the road, stopping to briefly have lunch. We made the return trip to Albany in silence for she had fallen asleep. I dropped her off at home, and spent the next two days relaxing.
January 4th hit me like a ton of bricks. I was reminded that I had two days to prepare for a trip to the other end of the country. I was to pick up a new friend from Minnesota, and my drive was to commence on the 6th. I fidgeted with tire pressure, changed my oil, refilled my steering fluid reservoir and washed the car. Sunday arrived and I topped off the tank, the road stretching before me, the spine of a serpent winding its way through Georgia. I stopped 12 miles shy of Tennessee, road fatigue nagging at my increasingly heavy eyelids. The nap was welcomed, but the coffee at my first stop in TN was a heavenly nectar. I continued on through the dead of night. Reaching Chattanooga was a welcome sight, after a short eternity of being bathed in the cloudy darkness, the city lights sprang forth as I crested a mountain pass. The effect was breathtaking, as if someone had planned this awe inspiring view. I passed through, the fingers of fatigue began to pull at me again. I pulled over, stretched and took another short nap. Kentucky was within sight.
I crossed through Kentucky, the air was cooling rapidly, I checked the temperature, 15 degrees and falling. I reached the Indiana state line. It was 9. The miles passed by, the temperature reached a brisk 3 degrees Fahrenheit. I noticed my windshield was dirty, reached for my washer fluid lever...nothing. But, I had just filled it up? It couldn't have possibly frozen with all that engine heat nearby. I pulled off between some open fields, the barest hint of sunlight to my east highlighting the Illinois farmland, the rich fields waiting to be planted with a bounty unknown. I checked the washer fluid reservoir; I was baffled, it really was frozen.

This tale continues soon. For now though, I must sleep.

Last edited by Centrisian; 03-25-2013 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Geographical Typo.
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2013, 10:19 PM
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DanM5 DanM5 is offline
My other ride is ur wife
Location: Perth, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2013, 06:04 AM
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Radian Radian is offline
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Location: Tucson, AZ
 
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:06 AM
3star 3star is offline
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Location: texas
 
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Mein Auto: 89 E30 Cabrio
wow what a heroic tale
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2013, 02:16 PM
Centrisian Centrisian is offline
:)
Location: Albany, GA
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 1994 525i
Continuing the Trip.

The epic continuation has arrived.

I closed my hood, laughing at the block of washer fluid under the hood and began moving northward again. The sun was creeping slowly above the horizon, the pinks and oranges chasing the deep purple of night from the sky. I changed interstates, avoiding Chicago, aiming right at Wisconsin. Around 10 AM, I took an exit to get some coffee, I missed the sign that said 'no return access.' This immediately became apparent and a furrow of worry began to form. I got coffee, noticing that I was far enough north the drink cases now advertised 'Pop' to me. I had a conversation with the clerk, and she redirected me through 60 miles of farm country to the next accessible exit without backtracking.
I slowed my pace through the town, the quaint Illinois farming community living around me was nothing like the rural towns from my childhood. It had a life and an energy that was palpable through my tinted windows. I passed between fields of corn, fields of winter wheat, and empty fields waiting for the seasons to change. An interstate sign passed by me, I was close. A few farmhouses and a school bus full of bright young minds later, I was back in the artery, the capillaries of America now a wonderful memory.
The farmland continued all around me, the exits becoming increasingly further and further apart. Signs for Wisconsin began springing up, the Illinois leg of I-39 had merely an hour left for my company. I found myself at a toll plaza. Strange, my maps had said nothing to me about this. I grabbed a handful of coins from my console and passed through.
I refueled for the third time on the trip before crossing into the Badger State. I had now been driving for 10 hours since my last nap, and 14 hours since my last meal. The rumble of my stomach overcame the sound of the wind rushing past. I found a local restaurant and stopped in. I had some local vegetables and good conversation with the staff and patrons. My stomach and tank now contentedly full, I crossed into Wisconsin, and as if by magic there was snow on the ground, creating a clean white blanket across the countryside. I took a break at a rest area inside the state line, a large bronze bas-relief topographical map of Wisconsin created a centerpiece for the building, I even spotted a payphone. I thought that animal was extinct. I quickly snapped a picture before it could notice my presence in its natural habitat. As I left, I noticed a compass rose inscribed into the concrete, the alternating sides of the needles in a slightly different shade of stone. Wisconsin was full of such beauty in even the most simple of details.
I got in the car and I was on I-90 again. The last few hours of the journey there were upon me. The town names started becoming more distinctly funny. (I mean no disrespect to the people who live in these towns, but 20 hours in a car does give you giggles when you pass the sign for Baraboo--which had a tangle of water slides behind it, and the sign for Pardeeville at a stop made me wish I had gotten the invitation.) The rock formations became more striking and more frequent, reminding me in some cases of castle ramparts. I began a long, gentle downhill into what I realized was Minnesota. The bluff across the river was magnificent, the sun was behind it, casting a divine light into the clouds. The bridge into MN was within sight, and approaching rapidly. Having done many travels across the country in my childhood, I remembered this was the Mississippi River, and would be the farthest north point I had crossed it in an automobile. I snapped a picture of the sign as I went past. Looking over to my right, I could see fishing shacks set up in the middle of the river, it was frozen at least 10 inches in the middle and the people fishing were something I had never seen before.
The bridge was behind me, I was in Minnesota, phone in hand, I tried to call the person whom I was picking up. No signal. No map access on my phone. I'm lost?
Well, you're never lost if you don't admit it, so I kept following the road along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. A town loomed ahead, I had a bar, then two of signal. I quickly called her and she gave me a quick set of directions and street names. The old-school factory workers houses around me were reminiscent of my months spent in western Massachusetts. I pulled up to the peach colored house and got out. A balmy 15 degree wind struck me. I grabbed a sweatshirt and threw it on. This person who I had never met before pokes her head out of the door and welcomes me in as though we were old friends. I walk inside and stretch out my legs. She starts discussing how much stuff she has to fit in my vehicle. We fill the trunk to capacity and begin playing suitcase Tetris in the backseat. Boxes and bags begin to fill behind the driver's seat, clothes and crates behind the passenger seat. There wasn't room to sick another needle on this camel's back. We piled in, a large bag of clothes and trinkets set to be between the passenger's legs and a cat roaming about. I take the passenger seat and let this new friend of mine take the wheel. We were headed south again.

The third installment in a little while.

Last edited by Centrisian; 03-25-2013 at 02:58 PM. Reason: typos and such.
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